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Several issues in cosmology have increasingly raised concerns about self-locating uncertainty.  It seems to many that to understand how the universe originated and how it is, we need to better understand how to think about where we are in it, or where we should expect ourselves to be.  On one hand, considerations of self-locating belief may hold our best hope for confirming or disconfirming multiverse theories.  On the other, self-locating considerations lead to seemingly intractable puzzles.  Prominent among those is the “measure problem”:  to assign an appropriate self-locating probability measure over a countably infinite multiverse.  Can alternative approaches to probability overcome this challenge?  Is an altogether non-probabilistic inductive logic called for?  Does freedom in the choice of a measure and an “observer proxy” make cosmologists’ results unreliable?  Do self-locating considerations require us to rethink familiar applications of probability theory in quantum mechanics or games of chance?  Can we confirm theories in a large universe without considering self-location?  These are among the questions that we seek to debate, connect, and progress in this workshop.

This workshop will take place on August 26 – 27, 2021 via zoom. Please register prior to August 25, 2021 to receive the workshop link & password.



  • Simon Friederich (University of Groningen), The Problem of Researcher Degrees of Freedom in Multiverse Theory Testing

  • Marie Gueguen (University of Pittsburgh), The Born Supremacy

  • John D. Norton (University of Pittsburgh), Eternal Inflation: When Probabilities Fail

  • Matthew W. Parker (Rotman Institute of Philosophy), The Teacup Game: Probability and Permutation Invariance in an Infinite Universe

  • Sylvia Wenmackers (KU Leuven), Paradoxical Probabilities in the Context of Cosmology


Day 1 – Thursday, Aug 26 Day 2 – Friday, Aug 27
9:00 – 9:05 am Welcome – Matthew W. Parker Welcome – Matthew W. Parker
9:05 – 9:45 am Sylvia Wenmackers Marie Gueguen
9:45 – 10:05 am Q&A Q&A
10:05 – 10:15 am Break Break
10:15 – 10:55 am John D. Norton Simon Friederich
10:55 – 11:15 am Q&A Q&A
11:15 – 11:25 am Break Break
11:25 am – 12:05 pm Matthew W. Parker Panel Discussion
12:05 – 12:25 pm Q&A Q&A

All times above are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Image credit: CharlVera (license)

This event is made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, to Chris Smeenk and Jim Weatherall. Learn more on the project website, New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology.

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